Unless otherwise noted, summaries on this page are quoted from

Blake, Michelle. Earth Has No Sorrow, 2001.
Lily Connor series, #2.

Earth Has No Sorrow finds Lily Connor, tall and skinny, an unusual figure in her jeans, hand-tooled cowboy boots, and clerical collar, still in Boston, running her Women’s Center downtown, and serving on an ecumenical council whose purpose is to study anti-Semitism in the Church. When one of the council-sponsored events is disrupted by a heinous, vitriolic hate crime and a dear friend disappears, Lily is thrown into the middle of a dangerous game that will not only test her faith, but put everything – and everyone – she knows and loves in jeopardy.

Coel, Margaret. The Eagle Catcher, 1995.
Wind River Reservation series, #1.

A murder mystery set on an Indian reservation in Wyoming. When the tribal chairman is found murdered before an important powwow, alcoholic Father John O’Malley and an Indian attorney looking for her roots search for the killer and uncover the fraud-infested world of Indian oil and land deals.

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose, 1980.

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”

Kemelman, Harry. Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, 1964.
Rabbi Small series, #1.

Rabbi David Small, the new leader of Barnard’s Crossing’s Jewish community, can’t even enjoy his Sabbath without things getting stirred up in a most unorthodox manner: It seems a young nanny has been found strangled, less than a hundred yards from the Temple’s parking lot – and all the evidence points to the Rabbi.

Lovesey, Peter. The Reaper, 2001.

Otis Joy is a very good vicar – he’s attracted record-breaking congregations, his parishioners admire and respect him, and the village of Foxford is very content with its lot. What the citizens of Foxford don’t realise is that their beloved parish priest is a murderer.

Joy had managed to convince his treasurer to channel a proportion of church funds into his own bank account, and when his bishop queries this arrangement Joy kills him – after all, such a trifling misdemeanour should not prevent him from carrying out his duties. However, it isn’t the first time he’s despatched ‘busy-bodies’ and rumours are beginning to circulate, so that when the husband of his new treasurer is found dead it looks as though he’s taken one life too many.

McInerny, Ralph. A Cardinal Offense, 1994.
Father Brown series, #17.

Father Roger Dowling acquires a rare treasure: two prime-location tickets to the Notre Dame vs. USC football game, the gift of an old friend in the Church. But the tickets come with a catch, for at Notre Dame he is expected to attend a conference on American annulment practices – a meeting with the powerful Cardinal Hildebrand, which will tear Dowling from the welcome obscurity of his parish in Fox River, Illinois. The eroding sanctity of a marriage vow made before God underlies the gripping plot of A Cardinal Offense.

Parker, T Jefferson. California Girl, 2004.

A different world then,
a different world now …

California in the 1960s, and the winds of change are raging. Orange groves uprooted for tract houses, people flooding into Orange County, strange new ideas in the air about war, music, sex, and drugs, and new influences, ranging from Richard Nixon to Timothy Leary.

For the Becker brothers, however, the past is always present — and it comes crashing back full force when the body of the lovely and mysterious Janelle Vonn is discovered in an abandoned orange-packing plant. The Beckers and the Vonns have a history, beginning years ago in high school with a rumble between the brothers of each clan.

But boys grow up. Now one Becker brother is a cop on his first homicide case. One’s a minister yearning to perform just one miracle. One is a reporter drunk with ambition. And all three are about to collide with the changing world of 1968 as each brother, in his own unique way, tries to find Janelle’s killer.

As suspects multiply and secrets are exposed, the three Becker brothers are drawn further into the case, deeper into the past, and closer to danger.

Peters, Ellis. The Potter’s Field, 1989.
Cadfael series, #17.

The gifting of a field to the Benedictine abbey goes from generous to ghastly when plows turn up a hastily buried body.

When a newly plowed field recently given to the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul yields the body of a young woman, Brother Cadfael is quickly thrown into a delicate situation. The field was once owned by a local potter named Ruald, who had abandoned his beautiful wife, Generys, to take monastic vows.

Generys was said to have gone away with a lover, but now it seems as if she had been murdered. With the arrival at the abbey of young Sulien Blount, a novice fleeing homeward from the civil war raging in East Anglia, the mysteries surrounding the corpse start to multiply.
summary from

Reynolds, Brad. Cruel Sanctuary, 1999.
Father Mark Townsend series, #4.

Father Mark Townsend is mystified by evidence that St. Joseph parish has an unknown visitor hiding in the church each night. Believing that it could be one of Seattle’s homeless youth in need of help, the priest leaves a brief note along with a $20 bill, urging whomever it is to come and see him. To his surprise, it’s the police who pay him a visit.The dead body of a fourteen-year-old boy has been found in the park, badly bruised and violated, with Father Mark’s incriminating note and $20 bill in his pocket. The police want to know about Mark’s relationship with the boy, a runaway originally from a small Alaskan village whose family now lives in Carnation, Washington. The priest is stunned, yet concern for the boy’s family, as well as his own reputation demands that he look for answers. But his investigation becomes entangled with the rest of his pastoral duties, causing a storm of disapproval and suspicion among parish leaders. Now the only way this busy Jesuit can calm the troubled waters and clear his name is to find the real killer. . .before he strikes again.

Runcie, James. Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, 2012.
Grantchester series, #1.

It is 1953, the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II . Sidney Chambers, vicar of Grantchester and honorary canon of Ely Cathedral, is a thirty-two-year-old bachelor. Tall, with dark brown hair, eyes the color of hazelnuts, and a reassuringly gentle manner, Sidney is an unconventional clerical detective. He can go where the police cannot.

Together with his roguish friend, inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney inquires into the suspect suicide of a Cambridge solicitor, a scandalous jewelry theft at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, the unexplained death of a jazz promoter’s daughter, and a shocking art forgery that puts a close friend in danger. Sidney discovers that being a detective, like being a clergyman, means that you are never off duty, but he nonetheless manages to find time for a keen interest in cricket, warm beer, and hot jazz–as well as a curious fondness for a German widow three years his junior.

Spencer-Fleming, Julia. In the Bleak Midwinter, 2002.
Clare Fergusson / Russ Van Alstyne series, #1.

Clare Fergusson, St Alban’s new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Millers Kill, New York. She is not just a “lady”, she’s a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody’s fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town’s police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who’s also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown. Their search for the baby’s mother quickly leads them into the secrets that shadow Millers Kill like the everpresent Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other – and murder….

Meredith, Marilyn. Deadly Omen, 1999.
Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, #2.

Tempe Crabtree, the resident deputy of Bear Creek, a small community in southern Sierra, Tempe Crabtree must do her job while adjusting to a new marriage and raising her teenage son. Part Yanduchi, Tempe is in the process of learning about her heritage. Her involvement in Native American spirtualism cause problems in her relationship with her husband, Hutch, the minister of the local church. In Deadly Omen a candidate for princess is murdered in a Native American Pow Wow while Tempe is working there in her capacity as deptuy. Tempe’s investigation takes her onto the Yanduchi reservation. Hutch has difficulty with Tempe’s grwoning interest in her heritage as she seeks the identity of the killer.

Thurlo, Aimée & David. The Prodigal Nun, 2008.
Sister Agatha series, #5.

Our Lady of Hope is an aging monastery run by a cloistered order in rural New Mexico. Perennially cash-strapped for needed repairs and maintenance, when the local diocese offers to pay for a new water well it is, well, a godsend. But there’s a catch – in return, they want the monastery to house a novice nun from a different order who needs a place to stay locally while she teaches at the Catholic school and an order to take responsibility for her while she’s there. And Sister Josephine – Sister Jo as she likes to be called – is a handful. Loud, boisterous, free with her opinions, inappropriate, impulsive and snores loud enough to wake the dead, the young nun doesn’t fit in well with the contemplative order and the older nuns of Our Lady of Hope.

If the teeth-grinding of the older nuns and the repetitive deep sighs of the Reverand Mother weren’t enough, there’s also the increasingly dangerous sounding threats that arrive at the monestary. Since Sister Agatha has been involved in her fair share of investigations, there’s no lack of people who might harbor a grudge against her. But is she really the target? And is Sister Jo – who arrived right before the threats began – somehow entangled in this increasingly dangerous web?


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